One of the most important points of message training is to avoid speculation if you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s better to say, “I don’t know” than to send reporters or audiences spiraling with potential misinformation. That said, this point can be much easier to teach than to practice.
I, like many other senior-level professionals, take pride in having answers. After all, what is my 20 years of experience worth if I don’t know the solution to my client’s or team’s problems? But sometimes I find it particularly hard to say, “I don’t know,” or to ask additional questions rather than just jump in with an answer – no matter how preliminary or unknown that answer or solution might be. As it turns out, I’m not alone…
Hal Gregersen underscored this issue in a Harvard Business Journal article about better brainstorming when he noted that people with the most senior positions and greatest technical expertise can be the most challenged when it comes to asking questions rather than offering answers when faced with a problem. Why? Because they’re often afraid of looking incompetent if they don’t have the answers. Sound familiar? It certainly does to me – so I was thrilled this article also offered some suggestions about how to handle this better. Read more after the jump…
We collectively sprang forward in the early morning hours of Sunday and digital platforms are bouncing into action as well. If you could use some inspiration to end your work week, today’s Weekly Reads dishes on how to protect your mental health from your seemingly endless Instagram feed. Also on deck: targeting baby boomers and our admiration for Facebook and Twitter as they take on the giant task of curating Major League Baseball and March Madness, respectively.
Monday was our final full day in Austin as SXSW 2018 finally winds down. You can see the business-folk start to filter out and the fresh faced music fans start to take over the town with energy that we all left with the weekend.
We can’t hit up SXSW without a stop at Gus’s Fried Chicken. It’s an Austin staple.
When you think about how to tell a story, you don’t usually think about numbers. But a pair of scientists who changed careers to focus on communications, Randy Olson and Jayde Lovell, are breaking narrative down into a simple equation that allows you to quantify the strength of your narratives.
Inspired by the writers of South Park
They were inspired after listening to the creators of South Park talk about how they approach their scripts. In their second draft for each episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a Rule of Replacing: “Every time you replace an “AND” with a “BUT” or “THEREFORE” the storytelling gets better.”
Day three at SXSW is now in the books. We ventured into another activation but didn’t have quite the same luck that we did at Westworld on day one. However, some great friends, good food and interesting sessions more than made up for it.
As marketers, one of the first and most important things that we can do for our business is to identify the audiences for our product or service. Our audiences (yes, that should always be plural) are typically defined by a combination of demographics and psychographics that help us fit a diverse selection of human beings into a few loosely constructed boxes. But with an unprecedented amount of data now available to businesses it’s time that we introduce context and circumstance into the equation.
On day two of SXSW we attended a few more sessions, which meant we took a few fewer steps. Taco breakfast, a quick lunch and (fancy) hotdogs for dinner were interspersed with celebrity sightings and tomfoolery.
People are humans, and humans are unique and complex. It seems obvious, but it’s something marketers and businesses sometimes forget. There are many ways to slice and dice people into groups to target, but the closer you get to understanding what a unique individual likes, wants and feels, the closer you’ll get to motivating them to action. The challenge, as always, is how to do that at scale.
Brian Cugelman, a neuroscientist presenting at 2018 SXSW Interactive Conference, has developed a framework called SPEAR. Think Myers-Briggs, but reimagined using brain science. Using his framework he talked through how to design marketing materials for people based on their personality test results. Someone he classifies as an “Empat” would like community- or social-oriented communications. Basically, he boils it down to understanding what kinds of things were attractive, or repulsive, to different personalities.
Days one and two at SXSW were as fabulous and weird as ever. Two dinners, one very, very long and one wonderfully quick, a session or two (OK, just one) and a trip to the old West(world) got us immersed in everything Interactive all over again.
Pirhana Sushi delivered a fantastic meal in under 40 minutes (which was fantastic since we didn’t sit down until 9:00 p.m.).
SXSW Interactive is inherently about digital communications. How, as individuals and marketers, we use social media, smart phones and digital advertising to connect, one-to-one or one-to-many.
But the prevalence of these digital tools and our reliance on them to reach large, hopefully targeted, audiences at scale has caused brands to lose touch with the importance of creating experiences that their fans can share both online and off.